According to historian and writer Atul Gawande, the concept of a pre-flight checklist was first introduced by management and engineers at Boeing Corporation following the 1935 crash of a prototype B-17 at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, killing both pilots. Investigation found that the pilots had forgotten to disengage a critical wing adjustment mechanism prior to take-off. Life magazine published the resulting lengthy and detailed B-17 checklist in its 24 August 1942 issue.
At the club where I'm learning to fly we use the following checklist before taking to the air in a C42. Each club and for each type of aeroplane a different list is used, so please look upon these as examples only and ensure you use the correct one for your club and aircraft.
SECURITY: Harnesses, Hatches, Headsets and Handbrake set.
THROTTLE: Check full & free movement, set closed, Choke as required.
AREA: No persons, animals or debris. Aircraft positioned safely.
MAGNETOS & Master: ON.
POWER: "CLEAR PROP", wait, START. Set 2000 rpm. Check oil pressure.
RADIO: ON, Check intercom.
CONTROLS: Full & free movement & in correct sense. Flaps set for T.O. (Take-Off)
HARNESSES, Hatches & Headsets secure. No loose items.
INSTRUMENTS: Check FLIGHT instruments left to right. Set altimeter.
ENGINE: Check ENGINE instruments. Alt, warning light. Mags check.
FUEL: Check gauge confirms visual contents. Fuel tap ON.
TRIM: Set for Take Off.
WIND: Check direction and strength. Select runway.
RADIO: Check. Transponder (if required) set to STBY, 7000.
AREA: Check all around. Be aware of other airfield movements. .
POWER: After oil temp reaches 50°C. Set 3500 rpm, check mags, Power OFF - check smooth idle. Reset to 2000 rpm.
FUEL PUMP: ON. (Turn OFF after take-off at safe height).
TRANSPONDER: Set to ACS or ALT (if required).